Plastic Reality: Special Effects, Technology, and the Emergence of 1970s Blockbuster Aesthetics (Film and Culture Series)

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The one-two punch of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind changed both sci-fi filmmaking and summertime filmmaking in general. Many film students consider them to mark the birth of the blockbuster and the demise of the American auteur movement of the 1970s.

But Julie Turnock believes that Star Wars and Close Encounters didn’t betray or abandon the principles of the 1970s movement, but, instead, exemplify it in spirit, if not in appearances. Instead of crediting or decrying them for sparking the concept of the summer blockbuster, Turnock explores how the films came to life and how they fit into the greater cinematic lexicon.

It’s an intriguing argument to be sure, combining the rise of special effects with the value of creating good content whilst keeping up with the expectations of the modern movie-going audience. Although Star Wars dominates the discussion, it’s the unexpected nature of the topic at hand — as well as similarities to Close Encounters on the creative front — that keeps from those discussions from seeming hackneyed or overdone.

Plastic Reality makes you look at Star Wars in a new light. How many books can you say have done that?


Reviewed By:

Author Julie A. Turnock
Star Count 3/5
Format Trade
Page Count 384 pages
Publisher Columbia University Press
Publish Date 2015-Feb-03
ISBN 9780231163538
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue May 2015
Category Music & Movies
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